Canadian men hold second-ranked France to a scoreless draw in men's soccer friendly - Soccer (2024)

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The Canadian Press - Jun 10, 2024 / 8:07 am | Story: 491608

Canadian men hold second-ranked France to a scoreless draw in men's soccer friendly - Soccer (1)

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HERZOGENAURACH, Germany (AP) — Germany midfielder Aleksandar Pavlovi? stayed away from the team's training camp Monday with illness, four days before the host nation kicks off Euro 2024 against Scotland.

The German soccer federation said Pavlovi? was the only one of the 26-player squad not to return as scheduled for Monday training from a free weekend following Friday's 2-1 friendly win over Greece.

The federation said he “did not travel on Monday for the time being due to an infection,” without giving further details or any timeline for when Pavlovi? is expected to join the team.

The 20-year-old Pavlovic had a breakout season for Bayern Munich and was one of the few bright spots in a rare trophyless campaign for his club. It's not the first time illness has interfered with his national team plans.

Pavlovi? was first called up by Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann in March but couldn't play because of tonsillitis. He eventually made his international debut last week in a 0-0 draw with Ukraine.

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The Canadian Press - Jun 10, 2024 / 7:50 am | Story: 491607

Canadian men hold second-ranked France to a scoreless draw in men's soccer friendly - Soccer (3)

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GENEVA (AP) — Real Madrid is the main attraction at the biggest ever Club World Cup next year in the United States but the Champions League winner was ready to boycott it, according to coach Carlo Ancelotti on Monday, citing a dispute with FIFA over money.

Not so, his employer said hours later, backtracking from claims by the hugely respected Ancelotti published in an interview with an Italian daily.

The U.S. is hosting the first revamped edition of the FIFA club tournament in June-July 2025 with Madrid and its superstar players Kylian Mbappé, Vinícius Júnior and Jude Bellingham the standout among 32 teams, including 12 from Europe. It is due to be played every four years.

But Ancelotti said FIFA “can forget about it” in an interview published Monday by Italian daily Il Giornale.

“A single Real Madrid game is worth 20 million and FIFA wants to give us that amount for the entire cup. Negative,” the Madrid coach said. “Like us, other clubs will turn down the invite.”

Ancelotti is perhaps the most universally liked coach in world soccer but his published claims were questionable and led to a quick climb down in Madrid.

“Real Madrid never questioned its participation in the new Club World Cup to be organized by FIFA,” the club said in a statement. “Therefore, our club will compete, as planned, in this official competition that we face with pride and with the utmost enthusiasm to make our millions of fans around the world dream again with a new title.”

In a later social media post, Ancelotti didn’t deny his comments to Il Giornale but said his words were not interpreted the way he intended.

Madrid typically earns about 10 million euros ($10.7 million) per Champions League game in prize money from UEFA in a revenue distribution model that FIFA is expected to closely mirror.

It was also far from clear which other clubs would refuse FIFA’s invitation and pass up likely tens of millions of dollars in guaranteed prize money.

The exact amount clubs can expect to earn is unclear as FIFA still has not announced broadcast and sponsor deals for an event that kicks off June 15 next year. FIFA has been in talks with tech giant Apple about a global streaming rights deal, and Saudi Arabian sponsors are expected to be confirmed.

A Madrid snub of FIFA also was unlikely because its place would go to another Spanish team — its biggest rival Barcelona, which has been in a prolonged financial crisis. Atletico Madrid already secured its place in Spain’s quota of two entries.

Ancelotti’s claims also had seemed to reflect Madrid’s status as would-be disrupters in European soccer politics and also its isolation since president Florentino Perez was a driving force behind the breakaway Super League. That project failed within 48 hours of launching in April 2021 after a furious backlash by fans and lawmakers in England.

The other 11 European teams which qualified for the Club World Cup — including Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and other consistent performers in the past four Champions League seasons — are all members of the influential European Club Association.

Real Madrid has been exiled from the ECA since the Super League debacle. It also included Atletico and Juventus, who are now back in the fold of the 600-member club network and going to the Club World Cup.

The ECA last year renewed its working agreement with FIFA, a so-called “memorandum of understanding,” which included promises of cooperation on the club tournament and getting a bigger say in its commercial decisions.

“FIFA and ECA will also now establish closer working practices on a future revamped Club World Cup, including the sporting and commercial aspects for the 2025 edition,” ECA chairman Nasser Al Khelaifi said in March 2023, “and working together on future editions including on potential structures for managing the commercial rights going forward.”

By not being an ECA member, Madrid has less input on negotiations about Club World Cup prize money.

Al Khelaifi also is the president of PSG, whose refusal to join the Madrid-led Super League helped undermine its credibility. The Qatari executive has close ties to UEFA as the head of one of its most valuable rights holders, BeIN Sports, and as a member of the European soccer body’s executive committee.

Three of the 32 Club World Cup teams have yet to be confirmed: Two of the six South American entries plus a team from Major League Soccer.

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AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni in Madrid contributed to this report

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The Canadian Press - Jun 10, 2024 / 5:33 am | Story: 491600

Canadian men hold second-ranked France to a scoreless draw in men's soccer friendly - Soccer (4)

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MADRID (AP) — Three Valencia fans have been handed eight-month prison sentences after pleading guilty to racially insulting Real Madrid forward Vinícius Júnior in the first conviction for racism-related cases in professional soccer in Spain.

The fans, whose names were not released, won't be allowed to enter soccer stadiums for two years and will have to pay for the court proceedings.

They were detained after a Spanish league match between Real Madrid and Valencia at Mestalla Stadium in May 2023. The match was briefly stopped after Vinícius was insulted.

That incident sparked an outpouring of support for Vinícius, who is Black, and set off widespread calls for action by Spanish authorities and society in general.

Many saw it as a turning point in the fight against racism in Spanish soccer, although Vinícius continued to be subjected to racist abuse several months after the initial uproar that accompanied the incident at Mestalla.

The sentence found the defendants guilty of a crime against moral integrity with the aggravating circ*mstance of discrimination based on racist motives.

The fans, who were sitting behind one of the goals at Mestalla, made monkey gestures and sounds toward Vinícius, who immediately called attention of the referee and pointed to the fans in the stands. The Brazil forward had tears his eyes as fans throughout the stadium continued to jeer him.

The case was brought before the courts by the Spanish league, which was joined by the Spanish soccer federation, Real Madrid and Vinícius.

“Together with Vinicius Junior, Real Madrid has acted as the private prosecutor in these proceedings and shall continue to work to protect the values of our club and to eradicate any racist behaviour from the world of football and sport,” the Spanish club said.

Valencia fully cooperated with the investigations and had already banned the fans shortly after the incident at its stadium. But no one had ever gone to trial in Spain for racially abusing a player, and many similar cases of abuse like the one faced by Vinícius had been shelved by prosecutors in the past.

“This ruling is great news for the fight against racism in Spain, as it goes some way to redressing the disgraceful wrong suffered by Vinícius and sends a clear message to those individuals who go to a football stadium to hurl abuse,” Spanish league president Javier Tebas said.

“I understand that there may be some frustration at the length of time it takes for these sentences to be handed down, but this shows that Spain is a country that guarantees judicial integrity,” he said. “Once again we demand that Spanish legislation evolve to give (the Spanish league) sanctioning powers that can speed up the fight against racism.”

The trial against a fan accused of insulting Athletic Bilbao forward Iñaki Williams in a match in 2020 was yet to take place.

The trial in Valencia was expedited after all parties reached an agreement on the sentencing. The original sentencing was for 12 months in prison and three years away from stadiums, but that was reduced in the deal among the parties.

The court said the punishment was reduced in part because the three fans showed remorse and read a letter of apology during the hearing. In the letter, the fans also called for the eradication of all forms of racism and intolerance in competitions.

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The Canadian Press - Jun 10, 2024 / 1:55 am | Story: 491587

Canadian men hold second-ranked France to a scoreless draw in men's soccer friendly - Soccer (6)

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DUESSELDORF, Germany (AP) — The European Championship in Germany is all about tried and tested stadiums with a rich soccer history.

Unlike at some recent World Cups, there's been no rush to finish stadiums on time. All but one of Germany's 10 venues hosted games at the 2006 World Cup and none have undergone major changes.

All capacities are given in the all-seated configuration used for Euro 2024, meaning the figure is typically lower than for club games where many fans can stand.

Here is a guide to the 10 stadiums and all of the games taking place at each:

OLYMPIASTADION

City: Berlin

Capacity for Euro 2024: 71,000

Games: Spain vs. Croatia (June 15), Poland vs. Austria (June 21), Netherlands vs. Austria (June 25), one game in the round of 16 (June 29), one quarterfinal game (July 6), the final (July 14).

Built for the 1936 Olympics under Nazi rule, the Olympiastadion was renovated to host the 2006 World Cup final and also held the Champions League final in 2015.

At club level, it's the home of the German Cup final each season and also hosts home games for second-division Hertha Berlin.

The Olympiastadion had a cameo appearance in this season's Champions League when Union Berlin trekked westward from its home in East Berlin to host games. The idea was for more fans to be able to watch, though not all of them were happy about playing at the home of their cross-town rival.

MUNICH FOOTBALL ARENA

City: Munich

Capacity for Euro 2024: 66,000

Games: Germany vs. Scotland (June 14), Romania vs. Ukraine (June 17), Slovenia vs. Serbia (June 20), Denmark vs. Serbia (June 25), one game in the round of 16 (July 2), one semifinal game (July 9).

Better known as the Allianz Arena for Bayern Munich games — stadium sponsorships are banished for the tournament — this stadium will host the opening game of Euro 2024 as Germany takes on Scotland on June 14.

It was home to the German league champion 11 years running until Bayer Leverkusen finally ended Bayern Munich's reign this season. The stadium opened in 2005 and was originally shared by Bayern and its local rival 1860 Munich, but 1860 sold its share due to financial problems, moved out and now plays in the third division. The stadium's location on the outskirts of Munich can mean long queues for trains back into town.

The arena branched out when it hosted Germany's first regular-season NFL game in 2022 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Seattle Seahawks 21-16. It's due to host a Carolina Panthers game later this year.

BVB STADION DORTMUND

City: Dortmund

Capacity for Euro 2024: 62,000

Games: Italy vs. Albania (June 15), Turkey vs. Georgia (June 18), Turkey vs. Portugal (June 21), France vs. Poland (June 25), one game in the round of 16 (June 29), one semifinal game (July 10).

The fans of Borussia Dortmund — BVB for short — know it as the Westfalenstadion, the cavernous beating heart of their club for over 50 years, but it's also called Signal Iduna Park due to a long-running sponsorship deal, which doesn't apply during the European Championship.

Dortmund, which lost this year's Champions League final to Real Madrid, is famed for its loud “Yellow Wall” of fans in a standing section, but the stadium is going all-seater for Euro 2024, as part of changes that bring down its capacity by nearly 20,000 from the 81,365 who can pack in for club games. Having one of Europe's biggest and loudest stadiums is a point of pride in Dortmund, an industrial city in western Germany's Ruhr region.

STUTTGART ARENA

City: Stuttgart

Capacity for Euro 2024: 51,000

Games: Slovenia vs. Denmark (June 16), Germany vs. Hungary (June 19), Scotland vs. Hungary (June 23), Ukraine vs. Belgium (June 26), one game in the quarterfinals (July 5).

The venue's historic name is the Neckarstadion after the river that flows through Stuttgart. Under that name, it hosted the 1988 European Cup final as Dutch club PSV Eindhoven beat Benfica of Portugal on penalties.

Since then, it's had a string of different names due to sponsorship details, most recently as the MHPArena for this season as host club Stuttgart finished second in the Bundesliga to qualify for the Champions League.

VOLKSPARKSTADION

City: Hamburg

Capacity for Euro 2024: 49,000

Games: Poland vs. Netherlands (June 16), Croatia vs. Albania (June 19), Georgia vs. Czech Republic (June 22), Czech Republic vs. Turkey (June 26), one quarterfinal game (July 5).

The stadium sits in a large park and dates back nearly a century to 1925, though it was fully rebuilt in the 1950s and then again from 1998 through 2000.

Hamburger SV plays at the stadium and has been in the second division this season. Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk moved in earlier this season for three home Champions League games since it was unable to play at home because of the Russian invasion. That was the first time the Volksparkstadion had hosted European games since 2010 and a useful practice run for Euro 2024.

DUESSELDORF ARENA

City: Duesseldorf

Capacity for Euro 2024: 47,000

Games: Austria vs. France (June 17), Slovakia vs. Ukraine (June 21), Albania vs. Spain (June 24), one game in the round of 16 (July 1), one quarterfinal game (July 6).

The only Euro 2024 venue which wasn't also used when Germany hosted the 2006 World Cup, this gray, boxy venue last year hosted the Invictus Games, a sports event for wounded, injured and ill service personnel and veterans which was founded by Britain's Prince Harry.

The stadium was an unsuccessful candidate for the NFL's expansion into Germany and was briefly converted into a vaccination center for the local area during the COVID-19 pandemic. The last club game at the stadium this season brought heartbreak for local fans as Fortuna Duesseldorf threw away a 3-0 lead and missed out on promotion to the Bundesliga.

COLOGNE STADIUM

City: Cologne

Capacity for Euro 2024: 43,000

Games: Hungary vs. Switzerland (June 15), Scotland vs. Switzerland (June 19), Belgium vs. Romania (June 22), England vs. Slovenia (June 25), one game in the round of 16 (June 30).

Historically, it's been known as Muengersdorfer Stadion after the district of Cologne where it's located. The local crowds are known for their passionate support of Cologne in league games, though this season ended with relegation from the Bundesliga. The stadium stepped in at short notice in 2020 to host the Europa League final during the COVID-19 pandemic as Spain's Sevilla beat Italian club Inter Milan 3-2 without a crowd.

FRANKFURT ARENA

City: Frankfurt

Capacity for Euro 2024: 47,000

Games: Belgium vs. Slovakia (June 17), Denmark vs. England (June 20), Switzerland vs. Germany (June 23), Slovakia vs. Romania (June 26), one game in the round of 16 (July 1).

Home to Eintracht Frankfurt, which won the Europa League in 2022, the club's fans still know this arena by its traditional name, the Waldstadion, though it's currently the Deutsche Bank Park because of a sponsorship deal.

There has been a stadium on the site since 1925 and it hosted the opening game of the 1974 World Cup as Brazil drew 0-0 with Yugoslavia. The stadium held two NFL games last year, including a win for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, as the league expands its presence in Germany.

LEIPZIG STADIUM

City: Leipzig

Capacity for Euro 2024: 40,000

Games: Portugal vs. Czech Republic (June 18), Netherlands vs. France (June 21), Croatia vs. Italy (June 24), one game in the round of 16 (July 2).

The only Euro 2024 stadium which is in the former East Germany, this venue was built for the 2006 World Cup on the site of the Zentralstadion. It had been East Germany's largest with a capacity estimated at 100,000 or more. Set up by drinks giant Red Bull, the newly formed Leipzig club took over the stadium in 2010 and renamed it the Red Bull Arena for club games.

ARENA AUFSCHALKE

City: Gelsenkirchen

Capacity for Euro 2024: 50,000

Games: Serbia vs. England (June 16), Spain vs. Italy (June 20), Georgia vs. Portugal (June 26), one game in the round of 16 (June 30).

There hasn't been much to celebrate at this stadium in recent years. It's home to Schalke, which was a Champions League team in the 2018-19 season but dropped out of the German top league altogether in 2021, only to return and then be relegated again last year. Schalke spent this season fighting possible relegation to the third division — and chronic financial woes — but eventually survived in the second tier.

The stadium was state-of-the-art when it was completed in 2001 with a retractable roof and a field which can be moved out of the stadium for concerts. It hosted the 2004 Champions League final as Jose Mourinho's Porto beat Monaco 3-0. After Euro 2024, the stadium will be one of three German venues on Taylor Swift's Eras tour.

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The Canadian Press - Jun 10, 2024 / 1:41 am | Story: 491588

Canadian men hold second-ranked France to a scoreless draw in men's soccer friendly - Soccer (7)

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A returning Cristiano Ronaldo, a rampant Kylian Mbappé and a resurgent Germany.

Throw in a Harry Kane-powered England and defending champion Italy and Euro 2024 is wide open.

That’s without mentioning three-time winner Spain.

The unpredictability of the European Championship, which begins in Munich on Friday, is what makes it such compelling viewing. Even in its expanded format of 24 teams, there is always the potential for a surprise.

This is the tournament, after all, that was won by rank outsider Greece in 2004. In 1992, it was won by Denmark, a team that hadn’t even qualified for the finals but was granted entry at the 11th hour when war-torn Yugoslavia was banned.

Host nation Germany hopes to create a welcoming and festive atmosphere for millions of soccer fans who will watch the games in stadiums or fan zones across the country – like it did when it hosted the 2006 World Cup.

However, this tournament will be played in a different political context. Europe’s biggest sporting event since the Russian invasion of Ukraine is taking place in the shadow of the most devastating conflict in Europe since World War II.

Ukraine is participating and can expect a warm reception in Germany, which hosted the team’s home matches during the qualifying campaign. Russia was excluded from qualifying – it has been suspended from all international competitions by European soccer body UEFA as well as global counterpart FIFA.

Meanwhile, Georgia is coming to its first major soccer championship as a political crisis deepens at home. The South Caucasus country has seen weeks of protests against a controversial law that opponents say would crack down on media freedom and hinder efforts to join the European Union.

And across the EU, voters will still be digesting the results of elections to the European Parliament – the 27-member bloc’s legislature – as the tournament gets underway. Early results Monday showed a surge in nationalist and far-right sentiment, which has often manifested itself in Europe’s soccer stadiums, particularly among hardcore ultras.

As always, the threat of hooliganism looms over the European Championship, where clashes between rival fans have become a common feature. The threat of terrorism and political violence is an even bigger security concern, following a series of attacks on politicians in Germany.

German authorities are stepping up border controls during the tournament. More than 20,000 police officers will be on duty.

Given the tensions surrounding the Gaza war, UEFA and Germany avoided even higher security concerns when Israel was knocked out in the playoffs for Euro 2024.

On the field of play, there is reason to expect an exciting tournament, without the COVID-19 restrictions that were in place during the previous Euros in 2021.

England and France are among the favorites.

Three years ago, England was just a penalty shootout away from winning its first trophy since the 1966 World Cup but lost the final to Italy. Since then, manager Gareth Southgate has seen the emergence of Jude Bellingham as one of the top talents in world soccer, while Phil Foden is living up to the hype he generated when first emerging at Manchester City. Meanwhile, Harry Kane scored 44 goals in 47 games in his first season at Bayern Munich.

France also suffered the heartbreak of a shootout defeat when it lost the World Cup final in Qatar to Argentina. Mbappé remains its star attraction, but he is surrounded by top class talent throughout the French squad in the form of Antoine Griezmann, Eduardo Camavinga, Aurélien Tchouameni, Ousmane Dembélé and Kingsley Coman.

Ronaldo will be back competing in Europe after heading to Saudi Arabia to play his club soccer. Even at the age of 39 the former Real Madrid and Manchester United striker is still a goal machine — scoring 10 during Portugal’s perfect qualifying campaign.

Germany is a question mark after a string of disappointments at recent major tournaments, but new coach Julian Nagelsmann has lifted the mood of the host nation just in time for Euro 2024, with morale-boosting wins in friendlies against France and the Netherlands.

It’s a dangerous game to make predictions about Italy after the traditional powerhouse of international soccer failed to qualify for the last two World Cups but won the Euros in between.

Spain is looking to restore its former glory after having dominated international soccer from 2008-2012 when it won two Euros and was also crowned world champion. There is no shortage of talent at coach Luis de la Fuente’s disposal, with Man City midfielder Rodri establishing himself as arguably the best in his position and Barcelona’s Lamine Yamal among its emerging stars.

Other teams to watch include Croatia, which came third at the Qatar World Cup, and still has Luka Modric producing at the highest level with Real Madrid. Belgium’s golden generation has disbanded, yet it still qualified as a group winner, with striker Romelu Lukaku the top scorer with 14 goals.

If this is the year of another surprise winner, potential candidates could include Ralf Rangnick’s Austria, which impressed during qualifying; Denmark, a semifinalist in the last Euros; or Serbia, which has some serious attacking talent.

In a tournament that has produced some of international’s biggest shocks - anything seems possible.

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James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

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The Canadian Press - Jun 9, 2024 / 10:04 pm | Story: 491584

Canadian men hold second-ranked France to a scoreless draw in men's soccer friendly - Soccer (8)

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The World Cup aspirations of India and China are on the line Tuesday when a defeat could mean elimination from Asian qualifying.

A big chunk of the world’s population will be following the results with interest.

If China loses to South Korea in Seoul in the last game of the second round of qualification then it could lose second place in Group C to Thailand, which hosts Singapore in Bangkok.

Only the top two teams in each of the nine groups progress to the third stage of Asian qualification for the 2026 World Cup.

Just five of the 18 spots are still up for grabs with continental football heavyweights such as Japan, Australia, Iran and Saudi Arabia already guaranteed of progressing.

China, which has only ever qualified for one men's World Cup — when the tournament was co-hosted by Japan and South Korea in 2002 — missed a chance to advance last week when it drew 1-1 with Thailand in Shenyang.

“There is still a lot of football to be played and we will go to South Korea and give it all we have,” China coach Branko Ivankovic said. “We will go all out in the next match and try to qualify for the next round."

It will be difficult for Ivankovic's team. China has won just twice in 37 games against South Korea. At No. 23, the South Koreans are 65 places higher than China on the FIFA world rankings.

And even though South Korea sealed its place in the next stage with a 7-0 rout of Singapore last week, there's unlikely to be any lack of intensity in the rivalry against China.

“Just as we gave our fans joy with the win over Singapore, we would all like to finish this round well on our home pitch,” South Korea's interim head coach Kim Do-hoon said. “Everyone on the team feels the same.”

India could progress with a win over 2022 World Cup host Qatar but anything less will give Afghanistan an opportunity. The teams are level on points in second spot in Group A, but Afghanistan has an inferior goal difference.

India was disappointed with last week's 0-0 against Kuwait at Kolkata and now faces a tough trip to the home of the Asian champion, though Qatar has already secured first place in the group.

“We need to believe in our team,” India coach Igor Stimac said. “We need to believe in our abilities, and in what’s possible to do. We have a young team. So we need to believe in what we can do.”

Indonesia could also progress to the third stage of qualifying for the first time with a win against Philippines.

“There will be no retreat against the Philippines. We have to work even harder,” coach Shin Tae-yong said. If Indonesia slips up, then Vietnam could take advantage with a win against the already advanced Iraq.

North Korea and Syria are vying for second spot in Group B.

Syria is one point ahead of North Korea in the standings but faces a tough away trip to Japan, which has won all five games so far without conceding a goal. North Korea takes on last-place Myanmar and is expected to win.

Kyrgyzstan needs just a point against Group D leader Oman to progress ahead of Malaysia in third.

Already assured of a spot in the next round despite disruptions amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza, the Palestinian team arrived in Australia without its football federation president, Jibril Rajoub, for Tuesday's Group I game in Perth.

Local media reported on the weekend that Rajoub was denied an entry visa despite having his application endorsed by Australian football organizers.

Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Monday said he wasn't involved in the visa situation, with decisions made by border and immigration officials.

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The Canadian Press - Jun 9, 2024 / 6:23 pm | Story: 491576

Canadian men hold second-ranked France to a scoreless draw in men's soccer friendly - Soccer (9)

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CHICAGO (AP) — Angel Di Maria scored as Lionel Messi returned to the international stage for the first time in six months, helping Argentina to a 1-0 victory over Ecuador in a Copa America warmup match on Sunday night.

Messi was sidelined for the first half before replacing Di Maria in the 56th minute. A right hamstring injury kept the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner and Inter Miami star from participating in Argentina’s previous two Copa America warmup matches against El Salvador and Costa Rica in March.

“Sometimes there is no need to risk it, not only with Leo. It is about taking care of them so that they arrive in optimal conditions,” Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni said of his decision to sit Messi for the first half.

With Messi watching from the bench, Di Maria sent a reverse pass from Christian Romero into the net to open the scoring in the 40th minute.

“It helps to play against a rival like that, especially because Ecuador plays at a high level, they make it difficult for anyone,” Scaloni said. “And we needed to get together, compete, add minutes and feel the sensation of putting on the shirt before a Cup that is going to be difficult.”

It was Di Maria's second consecutive goal in an international match. He also scored against Costa Rica on March 26. With the 31st goal of his Argentina career, the 36-year-old midfielder is tied with Gonzalo Higuain for the fifth-most goals in the country’s history and sits just four scores behind Diego Maradona at No. 4 on the leaderboard.

Argentina — the reigning World Cup and Copa America champion — hasn’t fallen in its last seven meetings with Ecuador, a streak dating back to 2019.

“The goal is to continue competing, and these guys have competing in their blood,” Scaloni said. “Sometimes it turns out well and other times it doesn’t turn out well. But you have to keep playing. There are always things to play for. Now the Copa América, then the qualifiers. ... Our goal is always to compete at our best.”

UP NEXT

Argentina: Lionel Scaloni’s squad will wrap up its pre-Copa America slate in Washington D.C. on Friday with a warmup match against Guatemala before opening its group stage of the tournament against Canada on June 20.

Ecuador: A pair of international friendly matches remain against Bolivia on Wednesday and Honduras on June 16 before opening the Copa America schedule against Venezuela on June 22.

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The Canadian Press - Jun 9, 2024 / 4:39 pm | Story: 491566

Canadian men hold second-ranked France to a scoreless draw in men's soccer friendly - Soccer (10)

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FC Dallas on Sunday dismissed coach Nico Estevez, who was in his third season with the team.

Dallas has gone 3-8-5 this season and sits in second-to-last in Major League Soccer's Western Conference. Dallas, winless in its last five matches, was coming off a 1-1 draw on the road with Minnesota United on Saturday.

“It is always a difficult decision to part ways with your head coach. A great deal of thought and deliberation went into this move as it is still early in the season. We believe a coaching change is in the best interest of the club,” FC Dallas President Dan Hunt said in a statement Sunday. “I want to thank Nico for everything he has done for the club, including some great playoff memories.”

Assistant coach Peter Luccin will serve as interim head coach, the team said.

Estevez, who is from Spain, was hired before the 2022 season and led the team to the conference semifinals in the playoffs. Dallas returned to the playoffs last year and advanced to the knockout round of the Leagues Cup.

Dallas was 28-27-29 in the regular season over Estevez's tenure as Dallas' coach.

Estevez is the third MLS coach to depart his team this season. Last week Atlanta United dismissed coach Gonzalo Pineda last week and Nashville parted ways with Gary Smith in mid-May.

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The Canadian Press - Jun 9, 2024 / 3:19 pm | Story: 491554

Canadian men hold second-ranked France to a scoreless draw in men's soccer friendly - Soccer (11)

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MADRID (AP) — Kylian Mbappé got some rest ahead of the European Championship, playing only about 20 minutes as France drew 0-0 with Canada on Sunday in its final warmup.

The match in Bordeaux marked Olivier Giroud's last home game for France. The striker, who is moving to Los Angeles FC in Major League Soccer, is retiring from the French national team after Euro 2024, which starts Friday in Germany.

Mbappé entered in the 74th minute and failed to spark France to victory. He had played the entire friendly against Luxembourg on Wednesday, when he scored in France's 3-0 win in what was his first match since his move from Paris Saint-Germain to Real Madrid was finally confirmed.

France's opening game at Euro 2024 is on June 17 against Austria.

Mbappé reportedly was not fully fit after the game against Luxembourg and had missed some training sessions during the week but is expected to play a key role for France in Germany.

France, runner-up to Argentina in the 2022 World Cup, is in Group D along with Poland and the Netherlands.

Defending European champion Italy beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0 at home.

Davide Frattesi scored the only goal with a neat volley from inside the area in the 38th minute in Empoli.

Italy won Euro 2020 but missed out on qualifying for the last two World Cups. It begins its Euro 2024 campaign on Saturday against Albania. The other teams in Group B are Spain and Croatia. Spain routed Northern Ireland 5-1 on Saturday, while Croatia defeated Portugal 2-1.

Also Sunday, Slovakia routed Wales 4-0 with goals from Juraj Kucka, Robert Bozenik and Laszlo Benes, as well as an own-goal by Ethan Ampadu, intensifying the pressure on Wales manager Rob Page.

Slovakia will start its Euro 2024 campaign on June 17 against Belgium. Group E's other teams are Romania and Ukraine.

Montenegro lost 3-1 at home to Georgia, which is in Group F with Portugal, Turkey and Czech Republic.

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The Canadian Press - Jun 9, 2024 / 2:24 pm | Story: 491549

Canadian men hold second-ranked France to a scoreless draw in men's soccer friendly - Soccer (12)

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BORDEAUX — Coach Jesse Marsch liked what he saw in Canada's scoreless draw with second-ranked France. He also sees room for improvement.

His 49th-ranked team has already made strides, following up Thursday's 4-0 loss to the seventh-ranked Dutch with a poised, organized performance Sunday against the 2022 World Cup runner-up.

"It was a big step forward," Marsch said. "But there's still so much work to be done. What I liked was that a lot of the individual behaviours were clearer today than against the Dutch. And collective organization for what we wanted to do in all phases of the game was better. But there's still a lot to do to get even better for me."

And not much time to do it with top-ranked Argentina, the World Cup champion, awaiting Canada in the June 20 Copa America opener in Atlanta.

While it wasn't a win, the draw against elite opposition will join the Canadian men's 0-0 tie with Brazil in the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup and 1-1 tie with Brazil in Edmonton ahead of the 1994 World Cup as results to remember.

Marsch's feet remain firmly planted to the ground, however.

"It's one game. It's a friendly. It's against a very good opponent and it's a draw, it's not a win. But obviously there's confidence in the group right now," said the 50-year-old American, who was appointed coach May 13.

Still the draw looks good in the CONCACAF context of the 11th-ranked Americans' 5-1 loss to No. 12 Colombia on Saturday and No. 14 Mexico's 4-0 loss to No. 15 Uruguay on Wednesday.

The French had the better of a scoreless first half, but the Canadians coolly dealt with their attacks and had their own spells of possession. Canadian 'keeper Maxime Crepeau was up to the task when called upon.

It was more of the same to start the second half, but Canada began to pose more questions as the game wore on. William Saliba made a key block to prevent a Jonathan David cross from finding substitute Jonathan Osorio in front of goal in the 78th minute.

The French came close in stoppage time.

An unmarked Randal Kolo Muani had a glorious chance but sent his header wide. Crepeau then came out to force substitute Kylian Mbappe away from goal, later saving the star forward's shot in the 96th minute.

But while Canada had some good buildups, it didn't threaten goalkeeper Mike Maignan. France outshot Canada 13-7 (4-0 in shots on target) and had seven corners to Canada's one before a lively crowd at the 42,00-capacity Stade Matmut Atlantique.

The Canadian players will get a break before regrouping in Atlanta for Copa America where they will face No. 32 Peru and No. 42 Chile in Group A play after Argentina.

Marsch made just one change to the starting 11 with Crepeau replacing Dayne St. Clair in goal. He made good on his promise to rotate the captaincy with Stephen Eustaquio getting the armband Sunday after Alphonso Davies led the team out against the Dutch.

Davies combined well Sunday with winger Liam Millar, who rattled a shot off the crossbar in the 47th minute.

Crepeau was called upon early.

He got his body in the way of a N'Golo Kante shot from a tight angle in the eighth minute. Two minutes later, Crepeau made an even better save to push a dangerous Marcus Thuram shot to safety off the crossbar.

Fullback Richie Laryea, who had seen just 11 minutes of action since injuring his hamstring in Toronto FC's season opener Feb. 25, came on in the 63rd minute for Canada.

Osorio, Kamal Miller, Kyle Hebert, Jacob Shaffelburg and Tani Oluwaseyi, earning his first cap, followed Laryea off the bench.

France, like the Netherlands, is gearing up for Euro 24, which kicks off Friday in Germany. Didier Deschamps' squad opens Group D play against No. 25 Austria on June 17.

The French came into the game having lost just two of their last 13 outings (10-2-1) — both losses to Germany — since losing a penalty shootout to Argentina in the 2022 World Cup final.

France was coming off a 3-0 win Wednesday over No. 87 Luxembourg with Mbappe setting up the first two goals and scoring the third.

Deschamps made four changes to his starting 11. The 37-year-old Olivier Giroud, who will join Los Angeles FC this summer, led the attack and captained the side.

The French starters came from a Who's Who of club football, including AC Milan, Arsenal, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.

The June contests represent Canada's highest-ranked opponents since the 2022 World Cup when the Canadian men lost 1-0 to then-second-ranked Belgium.

The Canadian men had faced France just once before, in their first-ever game at the FIFA World Cup in 1986 in Mexico. A star-studded French side needed a 79th-minute goal by Jean-Pierre Papin to win 1-0.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 9, 2024.

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The Canadian Press - Jun 9, 2024 / 9:57 am | Story: 491516

Canadian men hold second-ranked France to a scoreless draw in men's soccer friendly - Soccer (13)

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LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool says its former captain Alan Hansen is seriously ill in hospital.

The Premier League club is providing support to the family of the 68-year-old former Scotland international, who retired in 1991 to start a successful career as a television pundit.

“The thoughts and support of everyone at Liverpool FC are with our legendary former captain Alan Hansen, who is currently seriously ill in hospital,” Liverpool said in a statement on Sunday.

“The club is currently in contact with Alan’s family to provide our support at this difficult time, and our thoughts, wishes and hopes are with Alan and all of the Hansen family.

“We will provide any further updates as we receive them in due course, and we request that the Hansen family’s privacy is respected at this time.”

Hansen joined Liverpool from Scottish team Partick Thistle in 1977. The defender won three European Cups, eight league titles, two FA Cups and three League Cups in 620 appearances for Liverpool.

Hansen’s former “Match of the Day” colleague Gary Lineker wrote on X: “Horrendous news. Thoughts are with Alan, Janet and all the family.”

The BBC’s flagship soccer show said: “The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Match of the Day are with Alan and his family at this difficult time.”

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The Canadian Press - Jun 9, 2024 / 4:09 am | Story: 491504

Canadian men hold second-ranked France to a scoreless draw in men's soccer friendly - Soccer (14)

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BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgium’s away kit is a tribute to a much-loved and nearly century-old cartoon character, Tintin. Croatia’s shirt will not go unnoticed. Germany’s home jersey is a classic white but the away shirt is a bold pink and purple.

Ahead of the European soccer championships starting June 14 in Germany, The Associated Press takes a look at some of the kits that will surely catch the eyes of soccer fans and fashionistas from across the globe.

FRANCE GOES RETRO

Led by new Real Madrid signing Kylian Mbappé, France is among the favorites to win the tournament. Its jerseys, both home and away, deserve a place at the top of the charts, too.

The away shirt combines a white base with a royal blue, with pinstripes going from blue to red reflecting the colors of the national flag. The home shirt is simple, featuring a striking bright blue. The only downside, perhaps, is the extra large Gallic rooster — a national symbol of France as a nation. It is stamped on the shirt and might be too big and been more appropriate on a rugby shirt. But because of that XXL badge, the jerseys are reminiscent of the kit the French team wore at the 1984 tournament, when the Tricolores, guided by Michel Platini, won their first major title.

TINTIN TRIBUTE

Belgium’s home kit has the traditional red color worn by the national teams, whose players are nicknamed the Red Devils and Red Flames.

But Belgium is the land of surrealism and likes to do things differently, with humor.

The away kit is a tribute to the late, great Belgian cartoonist Hergé and the character that first made him famous in 1929: Tintin, the intrepid reporter. It is composed of a blue jersey with a white collar, brown shorts, and white socks. The light blue of the jersey will please the Manchester City fans who adore Kevin De Bruyne. The brown shorts, however, might result in an arrest by the fashion police.

CLASSICISM? MODERN THEME? GERMANY HAS BOTH

The new Germany home shirt is a classic and will fit perfectly with the resurgent mullet haircut that so many German players have sported in the past. It is mainly white, with the black, red and gold of the national flag over the shoulders in the shape of an eagle’s wing.

The away kit, with its pink and purple colors, is an unprecedented bold move in the Mannschaft’s history. The German federation says it represents the new generation of German soccer fans, as well as the diversity of the country.

The look is rounded off by purple shorts and socks. It got Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Florian Wirtz really excited: “The away shirt is really cool! It’s something different and really stands out.”

NUMBER 44 CONTROVERSY

The German federation, however, made headlines for the wrong reasons after some social media users pointed out that the font of the two fours together on jerseys with the number 44 resembled the stylized S.S. used by the Nazi Party’s Schutzstaffel group. Adidas subsequently stopped offering the personalization of jerseys with names and numbers, and the federation halted the delivery of jerseys with the number 44 from its own online shop.

Commonly known as the S.S., the Schutzstaffel group included police units, combat forces and others who ran the concentration camps that carried out the mass killings of Jewish civilians during World War II.

EXTRA LARGE CHECKS

The French are not the only team taking the oversize trend.

The Croatian home shirt will feature extra large red and white checks. Critics say players now look more like jockeys at a race track rather than soccer players. But the larger squares give it a modern and relaxed look.

KEEPING IT SIMPLE

The Portugal home kit should age well. Its designer didn’t take too many risks, opting instead for elegance and a classic look. The shirt is mainly red, with dashes of black and green on the black collar and sleeves. The Dutch home jersey also keep it traditional — bright orange featuring a blue collar.

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